He was the first. The first man I danced with as I stood on his feet and we waltzed around the room. The first man I loved. My dad.
He left this earth too soon. As his time to go approached, in deep conversation, he asked, “what would you feel would be a convenient time for me to die? You’ll never think it’s a good time, Beverly”. He spoke the truth.
In fact, it’s all the truth he lived that fills my heart with gratitude this day.
Just a few of the legacy lessons he left.
- Any job worth doing is worth doing well.
- If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.
- It’s easy to criticize other Christians and say the church is full of hypocrites. But if a hypocrite is standing between you and God, he is actually one step closer than you are. This should not be so. Press in to know God no matter what others are saying or doing.
- Sometimes you have to turn your back on the crowd to express the music within you.
- Listening is a profound act of respect. Listen more than you talk. (I’m still working on that, Dad.)
I wrote this portrait of my father when I was in high school. The author in me itches to edit it, but I will refrain. It paints an accurate picture of the way he was at home.
Portrait of My Father
He sits quietly in the comfort of his easy chair. His feet are propped on the stool in front of him and his hands rest in his lap. His head is tilted to one side as he listens to the conversation of his family.
He wears a pair of faded Bermuda shorts and a loose fitting cotton shirt. It is tattered like a weatherbeaten sail that has seen many storms. A pair of thongs hang on his dangling feet.
His hands are long and lean like the expressive hands of a master musician. They are smooth And unmarred by the rigors of manual labor.
The face is calm and thoughtful. The features are softened by a pleasant expression that radiates tranquility. But you see the eyes. The eyes are alive and dancing. They are the vivid blue of a summer sky on a cloudless day. His eyebrows are set gently above the cloudless blue. They move up and down as he ponders what is being said and sifts it, like a farmer sifting the chaff from the grain.
His face is framed by curly black hair. The hair begins to take on a new color just above the left temple. It is gray like an evening fog moving into envelop the harbor.
Slowly, a smile begins to light his face, and he chuckles softly. Then he returns to the serenity that is his gift.
In loving memory of Wilmer Coleman Banks.
July 24, 1923 – December 26, 1990
The life between the dash was well-lived. Love you, Dad. Save a place for me at the table. See you in a bit.